SIRIUS at the SOLIDI Training Workshop- Research and policy change in inclusive education

On the 7th of December 2023, SIRIUS presented at the SOLIDI training Workshop. SOLiDi is a research program consisting of 15 individual doctoral research projects connecting research and public policy making in the field of intercultural relations, integration, and diversity policies and strategies.

As part of our workshop, we introduced the work of SIRIUS and how our advocacy work connects research on inclusive education and policy change. To illustrate this, we used the SIRIUS 3.0 ‘SIRIUS Watch’ report as an example. Based on the perceived needs and gaps identified by the networks, the SIRIUS Watch conducts research that focuses on monitoring the most significant changes in policy, implementation, and knowledge for ensuring inclusive education environments. This serves as a knowledge resource on inclusive education policy, but it also aims to be used as a tool for advocacy to promote policy change. Furthermore, we also presented the KIDS4ALLL project, whose methodology is based on the co-creation of knowledge, promoting the sharing of knowledge between the other two ‘sister’ projects, Refuge-Ed andNEW ABC , which also focus on the inclusion of migrant students in education. Additionally, we outlined the KIDS4ALLL policy brief, which we developed at SIRIUS together with the partners from the Institute for Education in Malta. This brief builds on the results of the KIDS4ALLL pilot of the platform and research to create policy recommendations on the promotion of lifelong learning competences from a holistic inclusive approach.

Right to education for unaccompanied and separated refugee and migrant children in the EU – A closer look at the ECRE Policy Note on the Right to Education for Asylum Seekers

Access to education is addressed in article 14 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights Of the European Union. According to article 14, everyone has the right to education and to have access to vocational and continuing training. Within the  EU legal framework, the right to access education for asylum seekers and unaccompanied and separated minors is also recognized under the Article 14 of the Reception Conditions Directive, which mandates minors asylum applicants must access education within three months.  


Focusing on the right to education of asylum seekers, ECRE has produced a Policy Note on “the right to education for asylum seekers in the EU”. According to the policy note, the lengthy asylum procedures  are negatively affecting the access to education due to delays in application processing. Furthermore, in many Member States minors asylum seekers and unaccompanied minors don’t have access to the schooling systems while they are in reception centers. The lack of information upon arrival is another issue that limits the educational opportunities of UASC.It is imperative that they receive transparent information about the various education pathways available to them. 


Moreover, newcomers tend to be placed in lower academic tracks, often because their previous studies are not considered as valid or not accurately considered. The report also calls upon MS to invest in preparatory classes and language. Funding preparatory classes is key for the successful inclusion of newcomers in mainstream education. 


Apart from compulsory education, it also underlines the importance of offering opportunities in  post-compulsory education, higher education and vocational training for UASC. In many cases, these educational pathways are not prioritized because they are not part of compulsory education. However, regardless of their legal status, the access to all educational levels should be guaranteed for all newcomers. When it comes to non-compulsory education, some of the challenges UASC face are related to the recognition of diplomas, language requirements, residence permit and the lack of financial aid from the governments . 


Education is a basic human right, and therefore the ECRE Note emphasizes the obligation of Member States in ensuring the access to education to asylum seekers. The policy note concludes with a series of recommendations for Member states and the European Commision. You can read all the recommendations here

Advocating for inclusive and high quality education for UASC is one of SIRIUS priorities. As part of our various activities in this area, we are currently participating in the SUN project, which focuses on the use of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights as an effective legal instrument to promote and protect the rights of unaccompanied and separated refugee and migrant children (UASCs) on the EU territory. Find more information about the project here.

SUN Project July Newsletter!


The SUN Newsletter

Welcome to the first SUN project newsletter! The SUN newsletter will be released regularly, providing updates on the project’s highlights, the achievements at different stages of its development, and news on  unaccompanied and separated refugee and migrant children regulations and practices through the CFREU.

The SUN project focuses on the use of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights as an effective legal instrument to promote and protect the rights of unaccompanied and separated refugee and migrant children (UASCs) on the EU territory. UASCs are a particularly vulnerable group due to their age, displacement and lack of a caring adult, and are at an increased risk of rights breaches and abuse. The aim of the project is to safeguard the rights of UASCs through the CFREU by fostering the transnational exchange of knowledge and good practices, training of practitioners and dissemination and awareness raising. The project is implemented by 7 partners from 7 different countries, including Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, Belgium, Netherlands, Italy and Spain.

More about the project

Subscribe now to the newsletter!


SUN Kick-off meeting 

On the 12th and 13th of April, all the SUN project Kick-off meeting took place in Sofia. 

Organized by FAR, the project’s coordinator, the two days meeting marked the official start of the project and provided the first opportunity for the entire consortium to meet in person.

Throughout the meeting, the consortium had the valuable opportunity to review the overall project strategy, gain a comprehensive understanding of the various working packages and project activities, and learn more about the consortium and its members.

On the second meeting day, the consortium had the chance to present the SUN project in the European Parliament representation in Sofia. Stakeholders from Bulgaria, the FAR team, and colleagues IOM and UNHCR attended the meeting. Each partner delivered an overview of the situation concerning unaccompanied minors in their respective countries, providing information about the challenges and mechanisms in different contexts.


First SUN Exchange Visit in Thessaloniki 

On the 22nd and 23rd of June, the SUN Consortium had its inaugural Exchange Visit in Thessaloniki, hosted by our project partners from ARSIS. 

This visit marked the beginning of a series of planned exchange visits. The aim of these visits are to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and expertise among participating countries on the protection of unaccompanied minors and the application of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.

During the first day of the visit, ARSIS presented various practices they have implemented, including their National Emergency Response Mechanism, advocacy efforts, and the semi-independent living program for unaccompanied and separated minors. On the second day, we had some field visits to ARSIS’ semi-independent living offices, the National Emergency Response offices, and the vice-municipality of Social Solidarity.

The Exchange Visit provided an optimal experience for knowledge exchange and collaboration, enabling the consortium to gain deeper insights into the exemplary initiatives implemented by ARSIS.


Next Exchange Visit in Italy

Our upcoming Exchange Visit is scheduled to take place in Italy in September, and it will be hosted by our partners from Gruppo Volontarius. Gruppo Volontarius manages the first Shelter for Unaccompanied Minors in South Tyrol, providing essential social services and case management.

During this visit, we will have the opportunity to delve into their work in supporting unaccompanied minors and witness their successful collaboration between social services and public authorities.

More about Volontarius


Research and Methodology: Identification of needs and of good practices

As part of Work Package 2, the consortium will conduct focus group discussions with the objective of identifying training needs and capturing good practices in the safeguarding of UAMCs rights through the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.

After developing the methodology for the focus groups, a common framework has been established for conducting the training needs assessment and gathering good practices. Two distinct questionnaires will be used, one for each of the main target groups: minors and professionals.

The “minors” group will consist of UAMCs who are currently beneficiaries of the partner organizations, as well as young migrants and refugees who arrived in Europe as UACs and have had contact with the partners. The aim is to gather insights and experiences directly from the direct beneficiaries.

In relation to professionals, the objective is to engage representatives from various fields involved in working with UAMCs. This may include lawyers, social workers, teachers, guardians, authorities, and others who play a role in supporting and advocating for UAMCs. Involving professionals from diverse areas of expertise, will give us a comprehensive understanding of the challenges and best practices and training needs  in safeguarding UAMCs’ rights.


Mentorship Programme and the Theory of Change

As part of the SUN project, partners are actively engaged in a mentorship scheme designed to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and foster communication between partners who possess extensive experience in social work with UASCs and those with expertise in strategic litigation.

During the Kick-off Meeting, partners were paired based on their specific knowledge and areas of expertise. Throughout the project, these pairs will regularly engage in meetings to share insights and support one another.

As an initial step in the mentorship program, partners are expected to prepare their “theory of change” plan by the end of the year. The theory of change model focuses on identifying the impact of one’s actions in order to achieve desired objectives. This plan serves as a roadmap for guiding project activities and aligning efforts to bring about meaningful change.

By actively participating in the mentorship program and developing their theory of change plans, partners will contribute to the overall success of the SUN project as well as creating strategic plans for achieving the objectives of their organizations.


ARSIS-Association for the Social Support of Youth

ARSIS is a Greek Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) that is committed to providing crucial social support to young individuals who are facing difficulties or are in dangerous situations. The organization focuses on advocating for the rights of these vulnerable youth and strives to enhance their access to essential resources and opportunities.

ARSIS operates with the vision of creating a safe and inclusive environment where all young people can thrive and reach their full potential. They recognise the unique challenges and risks that many youth encounter, particularly unaccompanied minors, and aim to address their specific needs through their comprehensive programs and services.


FAR-Foundation for Access to Rights

FAR is the lead organization in the SUN Project. FAR is a Bulgarian Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) in the public interest, founded by attorney-at-law Valeria Ilareva in 2013. It is dedicated to advancing human rights, promoting equality, and empowering vulnerable individuals and communities.

They provide legal aid and assistance to individuals who are unable to afford legal representation, ensuring that their rights are protected and upheld. This includes offering legal counseling, representation in court proceedings, and advocacy for systemic changes to improve access to justice.


European Parliament resolution on the need for EU action on search and rescue in the Mediterranean

After recurring tragic loss of life in the Mediterranean, the European Parliament adopted a resolution calling for a new EU-wide search and rescue mission. In the recent shipwreck of 14 June 2023, when a fishing boat sank in the Ionian Sea off the coast of Pylos, Messenia, Greece an estimated 750 persons were onboard, of whom 104 were rescued, with 82 bodies having been recovered and the rest missing, presumed dead. 

According to UNICEF, during the first half of the year, 289 boys and girls died while crossing the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe, or double the number compared to the same period in 2022.

Read the resolution

The European Union Agency for Asylum 2022 report 

The European Union Agency for Asylum – EUAA published its flagship report: Asylum in Europe in 2022: A Year in Review

The report cites over 1 000 sources and combines both qualitative analyses and quantitative data in order to provide an authoritative resource for both practitioners and policy makers. It features a section on Children and people with special needs in the asylum procedure (section 5). More specifically, section 5.6.1 provides data on unaccompanied minors. According to the report in 2022, 42,000 applications for asylum were lodged by unaccompanied minors across EU+ countries (EU27 + Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland), which was the most since 2016. This represented an increase of three-fifths from the previous year, slightly exceeding the growth in total applications (+53%).

Read the report


Fundamental Rights report 2023 by European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights

European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights has published the Fundamental Rights report 2023.

Chapter 8 of the report, p. 207 features the topic of the rights of children in migration. According to the report, 222,100 children applied for asylum in the EU27 in 2022, whereas 167,495 applied in 2021. In 2022, the highest numbers of applications were submitted in Germany (81,210), France (34,070), Austria (22,190) and Spain (20,580). There was also a substantial increase in asylum requests from unaccompanied children with 39,520 applications in 2022. In 2021 there were 25,130 such applications. 

In addition, a separate chapter of the report (Chapter 1, p.4) focuses  on the fundamental rights implications for the EU of the War in Ukraine.

FRA offers a free online courses, including courses on the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and a course on Guardianship for unaccompanied children. For more information visit the e-learning centre of FRA.

Full report  

SIRIUS attends Lifelong Learning Lab and The Annual General Assembly

From 26 of June to 28 of June, Simay Abay who is currently undertaking a summer internship with SIRIUS attended the Lifelong Learning Lab 2023-National Training for Education Stakeholders and The Annual General Assembly at the University of Girona.

During the two-day training event (26-27 of June), the emphasis was placed on the involvement of civil society organizations and other stakeholders in education, with the aim of bridging the gap between European and national policies in the field of education and training. In the labs, participants were divided into four sessions and they got the opportunity to engage in discussions and share their own experiences pertaining to “key competences.” These discussions encompassed good practices in the field, main success factors, and the application of these practices in a broader context.

The General Assembly (27-28 of June) facilitated a platform for members to share their viewpoints on potential enhancements within LLLP and methods to strengthen collaboration among the membership. Furthermore, they convened with the Secretariat and Steering Committee of the organization to deliberate on the overall direction and essential priorities.

Elisa Gambardella (SOLIDAR Foundation) was elected new President of the Lifelong Learning Platform!

We are excited to maintain our collaboration going forward!

For more information about to General Assembly, please visit the page.


The photo is taken from

Young Migrants Can Achieve Change – Policy recommendations report

Find below the final report with the final policy recommendations of our project Young Migrants Can Achieve Change.

This document explains the whole process that the project developed in order to get to the final results and recommendations. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or suggestions regarding the report.

*This content reflects only the author’s view and the European Parliament is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.

YMCAC – A perspective from a participant of the final event

Written by: Kejsi

YMCAC (Young Migrants Can Achieve Change) has come to an end, but its impact will be long-lasting, and the experiences and lessons we learned will stay with us forever. This was not just a “project,” but a life-changing experience that has left an indelible mark on us. Let’s revisit the final event that took place in Brussels on April 12th.

All participants arrived in Brussels a day before the event, which gave us an opportunity to catch up and discuss what was in store for us the next day. However, the day was marred by the fact that four of our friends were unable to cross the border to France, and thus couldn’t make it to Belgium. It was paradoxical that the participants of a project aimed at highlighting the struggles faced by migrants and refugees were unable to attend the final event where they could have raised their concerns with policymakers. Despite this setback, we decided to make the most of our time in Brussels and focus on preparing for the conference.

The final event was held on April 12th at the European Parliament. In the morning, we visited the Parlamentarium, which was an informative and entertaining experience with its many interactive activities about the functioning of the EU and its institutions. After a quick lunch break, it was time for the main event. We were thrilled to enter the Parliament, as it was an opportunity that only a few are granted, and it added to the excitement of the day.

The event was divided into two parts: a “speed dating” activity and a panel discussion. The “speed dating” activity was a great opportunity for us to present our projects and have meaningful conversations with people from different backgrounds. I personally enjoyed presenting my project, titled “La lotta per la cittadinanza italiana: complicazioni e soluzioni praticabili” (The fight for Italian citizenship: complications and viable solutions) and found the following discussion though-provoking and noteworthy. Moreover, the panel discussion allowed us to delve deeper into the issues that young migrants face and gain insights into the perspectives of the institutions, namely the European Commission and European Parliament. Although MEP Salima Yenbou was unable to attend, we were grateful for the opportunity to discuss our projects in such a prestigious venue.

In conclusion, YMCAC was an unforgettable experience that has left a lasting impact on all participants. The final event at the European Parliament was a great opportunity to share our projects, network with like-minded individuals, and gain insights into the perspectives of policymakers. We hope that our contributions will help raise awareness of the struggles faced by young migrants and refugees and contribute to positive change.

This content reflects only the author’s view and the European Parliament is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.

Searching for Consultant – Environmental and Green Expert

Interested parties are expected to submit a short 300-word bio by July 15th, 2023 to:


Terms of Reference – Project Environmental Expert

1. Background: The purpose of this document is to outline the Terms of
Reference (TOR) for advice relating to the creation of an environmentally
friendly project. The SIRIUS 3.0 project aims to prioritize sustainability and
minimize its ecological impact throughout all phases of development and
2. Objectives: The objectives of the advisory work are to give guidance to the
partners participating in the SIRIUS 3.0 project regarding how they can
operate, both within the project and outside the project, in an environmentally
friendly and sustainable way.
3. Scope of Work and deliverables: The project will encompass the following
activities: (a) develop a short user-friendly manual that can address the
various aspects of the project that relate to environmentally sustainable
principles and practices. This includes sustainable travel, identifying
opportunities for the use of sustainable materials, recycling programs, and
waste reduction measures; (b) a short presentation of the manual to the
project group; and (c) developing several questions for a larger project
evaluation questionnaire.
4. Timeline: The assignment is expected to be completed within a specified
timeframe. A detailed schedule will be developed during the assignment
planning phase, but deliverables (a) and (b) are expected by October 1, 2023
5. Reporting and Communication: Communication channels and reporting
frequency will be established to ensure effective and transparent
communication throughout the assignment.
6. Payment: Payment: details will be discussed with the external consultant.
Potential consultants are asked to indicate what they feel is fair
7. Review and Approval: The deliverables will be reviewed and approved by the
project management team.

SIRIUS attends OECD Policy Forum

On 29th of March this year SIRIUS ED, Mialy Dermish, was invited to the ‘10th Policy Forum of the Education for Inclusive Societies Project.’ Few NGOs were present at this high-level forum and SIRIUS was mentioned by multi-lateral donors as pursuing change work at the local and national level that impacted the way migrant and refugee children and young people experience school and their school communities.

Presentations by SIRIUS network partners and members the Ministry of Education of Portugal, the European Commission DG EAC, the National Agency of Education in Sweden and more highlighted issues of inclusion, language learning, socio-emotional wellness and more.

SIRIUS was thrilled to attend and take time to question our failiures and successes in welcoming Ukrainian refugee children into our schools, and the positives that we can build from this experience that could extend to all refugee communities coming to Europe.

Refugees Mental Health

My name is Najib or you can just call me ‘Javed’. I am a refugee living in the EU, and I wanted to help other refugees regarding their mental health or education. I’ve seen a lot of refugees facing these difficulties whether it’s in education or with their mental health (mostly in Hungary). It’s hard for them to get access to mental health resources, because of their financial problems or because it’s not provided for free from the Government. There are a lot of problems going on in today’s world, and we can’t solve them all overnight but if we can help a little bit, we should step up and do our best to help someone.

As ‘Mevlana Rumi said: “God gave you wings, why crawl on the ground”. If we’ve the opportunity to help someone in need, why not do it?

So, I got intouch with SIRIUS Network and we wanted to do something. I wanted to make a campaign about Refugees Mental health, and to provide them with the help and support they need, because if our mental health is not okay then our whole body is not okay. Somehow it’s connected.

When refugees or asylum seekers enter the EU, they provide them with food and shelters but somehow they don’t take their mental health seriously or don’t provide them some more support.

I did some interviews and chats with refugees about this topic and here are the results.

A refugee family from Ukraine :

 Due to privacy their real name is not issued but, Let’s call her “Marina”.

“Marina” is a mid old age woman with two children who had left Ukraine last year February. The day of Russian-Ukraine war had changed her life and somehow the future of her children too.

“Marina” described about the war and how its effected her: ‘Before the War I had a happy life and my husband and family around, I’ve never thought that overnight my life would change completely. And I would be an asylum seeker or a refugee in other country’.

After leaving Ukraine with her two children, her husband stayed back.

She came to Hungary by train and lived in a refugee camp and the Government gave them an apartment.

“Marina” said: ‘After leaving my country I cried a lot and I had anxiety and trauma, in the night I couldn’t sleep. Most of the Time my children asked me about their father,their friends and when we can go back home. But I couldn’t answer and I had to lie to them’.

The government provided her some help because of her anxiety and trauma but she says maybe that is not enough. If she gets private psychologist or psychiatrist that costs a lot of money i.e. 1 hour with a private psychologist or psychiatrist costs 30000-ft (which is 80-85 Euros) which is a lot and she can’t afford that much money.

The interview got emotional and it was stopped.

A Refugee from Afghanistan:

Due to privacy their real name is not issued but, but let’s call him “Mohammed”.

“Mohammed” is living in the EU since 2015, when a large number of refugees and asylum seekers came from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and other countries, he also came to the EU.

As many other refugees “Mohammed” also faced difficulties like lack of food on the way, shelters, language barrier and, of course, problems with his mental health.

He has been through a lot in his country because of the ongoing war, coming to the EU by foot and dealing with a lot of other problems, like financial and human trafficers.

“Mohammed” said: ‘My close friend died in the mediterrean sea when we were crossing Turkey to Greece.

I became depressed, and I had anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. I took a lot of anti-depressent, but that is too expensive and I can’t afford it now’.

Private psychologists are very expensive and he can’t find someone either who can help him, because in his culture it has a stigma, for men to talk about their Mental health. It’s kind of a tabu topic.
“Mohammed” says: ‘In my culture if you have some kind of mental health problems or if you are depressed, they think you are being haunted by ghosts/other spirits and beacause of that you are either put in chains or in a cage”.

Because he has this in his mind, he is afraid/ashamed of asking for help and the mental health care is expensive and not everyone can afford it.

Mental health care is a basic human rights.It doesn’t matter your residency or anything if your mental health is not okay.



Home Languages on International Mother-tongue Language Day!

On the 21st of February SIRIUS held two Facebook Live Events with researchers, teachers, policy-makers and practitioners working in the field of home languages and multilingualism. We started with a focus on France with our moderator Nathalie Auger, full professor of linguistics and didactics at Paul-Valéry University in Montpellier (France). She is director of the HUMAIN Research Unit (Languages, Humanities, Learning, Mediations, Interactions, Digital) sponsored by Edgar Morin. She works on the teaching/learning of languages at school, in particular French as a second language (2007 Conbat+, Maledive, Romtels,LISTIAC). She is the author of a dozen books and various websites dedicated to the projects she develops. And speakers Ranka Bijeljac-Babic, Lecturer, HDR, Department of Psychology, University of Poitiers (retired); member of the Integrative Neuroscience and Cognition Center (INCC), CNRS-Paris Descartes University; member of the Laboratory of Excellence-Empirical Foundations of Linguistics (Labex-EFL), Sorbonne-Paris-Cité; member of the Scientific Council of National Education; member of the Superior Council of Languages of National Education; president of the bilingual and plus association (which defends the diversity of languages and cultures of citizens in France and Europe (; and Florence Guiraud has a PhD on linguistics; trainer at the French department in the Faculty of Education Montpellier; and teacher in the Educational Unit for incoming allophone students.

The speakers covered many topics including the science and data of the benefits of including home languages in classrooms, both developed through several joint projects such as Listiac, – – but also the long-standing data since the 1970s that we have known and been speaking about in our circles. They also included many experiences of teachers and teachers visited, and we saw a video created by one project of how including home languages impacts children’s learning, family engagement and the experience and perception of teachers, with some students and teachers stating that they had no idea how many languages were in the classroom.

The live finished with some practical advice to teachers on taking a first step, such as just finding out what languages are in your classroom and the Facebook chat was filled with resources for those that wish to begin their path on language awareness*.

Our second live looked at the European level and also at how cities can move school districts to be more language-aware. Speakers Ana Solé Mena who currently works as Senior expert on multilingualism at the Schools and Multilingualism Unit in the Directorate General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture of the European Commission. She is the author of “Multilingual from the cradle. Growing up with different languages”, 2010; Main character in the documentary on multilingualism “The Power of Babel”, 2012. Hilda Heyde, who works as Programme Officer to coordinate the Language Friendly School network. With a background in Multilingualism, she aims to create opportunities for children to have access to a language-inclusive learning environment. And Tomislav Tudjman, who works as a Project Manager and Researcher at Risbo, a research, consultancy and training institute of the Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands. His expertise lies in the following fields of Inclusive schools, Integration, Migration and multilingualism, He led various European projects on these topics and is a and a long-time Board member of SIRIUS.

They started by discussing the benefits of including home languages in the classrooms in the current European Year of Skills and as we realise that STEM, critical thinking, team-work and many more skills are lacking in our work force. We heard from Tom that home language learning is a critical early step to better language acquisition in our second and further languages and from Anna that language is the building block of all knowledge, and that there is no competition between languages because what we build in one integrates into the other. Hilda re-iterated these points and spoke from a practical perspective about how the Language Friendly-School initiatives have seen teachers lives and experiences of classroom teaching be invigorated by including home languages.

Lots of transversal elements to other areas of education policy and politics became evident during this discussion including the amount of time we give teachers to prepare, be supported and get involved in new initiatives, the role of school directors and whether they have enough autonomy to make choices for their own school communities, the importance of informal educational opportunities and interactions with local services such as libraries and municipal offerings, and the importance of bringing politicians on by having them see and feel the work being done.

All in all, the discussions left a lot of food for thought and resources available for policy-makers and for teachers and we highly encourage you to check them out below.


Resources for assessing the home language competences of migrant pupils

Padlet sur la Semaine de Langues

Les langues comme objet migrateurs, Musée de Marseille

Le diamant langagier